Redundancy in Multilevel Energy Governance: Why (and When) Regulatory Overlap Can Be Valuable
24 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2016
Date Written: November 7, 2016
The realization of the European Union’s climate change and energy goals is said to require a shift towards a sustainable, competitive as well as secure energy system. This shift entails considerable uncertainties as regards the behavior of the multitude of actors involved, which are exacerbated; it is argued, by the unpredictability of the decisions of regulators. Moreover, this unpredictability is increased by the proliferation of regulators at various levels of the governance system, often resulting in redundancies, i.e. duplications and overlaps in regulatory governance.
Such redundancies are usually considered inefficient and, hence, wasteful. A level of redundancy in regulators and the rules they enact and enforce may, however, be required in order for the multilevel system of regulatory governance to operate effectively and legitimately, for instance through increasing innovation and responsiveness. While overlap thus in principle provides for an alternative way through which EU climate change and energy goals can be achieved, it is not at all clear if and how one can analyze and design redundant regulatory systems in practice. Much of the existing work on redundancy is theoretical and abstracted from the subject matter of regulation, while also neglecting the strategic behavior of regulators as well as companies and consumers triggered by redundancy.
In this paper, the question is therefore asked under which conditions redundancies in regulatory governance can help to make experimentation with new roles, responsibilities and relationships easier and, ultimately, the shift towards a sustainable, competitive and secure energy system more attractive. By identifying such conditions, first in theory and then empirically in the case of both the preparation of codes for cross-border network issues and market integration and the development of transboundary energy infrastructure, the paper seeks to contribute to our knowledge about the design and functioning of novel institutional arrangements for multilevel regulatory governance.
Keywords: Energy, European Union, institutional arrangements, multilevel governance, regulatory agencies, regulatory overlap and duplication
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